The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Andrew Hudson Harlott - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

ANDREW HUDSON

HARLOTT


Harlott

Melbourne thrashers Harlott have just released their second album "Proliferation" which is a blazing album of thrash tracks and any fan of thrash metal is sure to love this album. The band are also set to tour Europe starting this week with Canadian legends Annihilator who are also touring in support of their newest album "Suicide Society" so we caught up with guitarist/vocalist Andrew Hudson just days before leaving Australia to discuss the new album, the tour and a little about the thrash scene in Melbourne.

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The Rockpit: Thanks for your time today, how's things with the band at the moment?

Andrew Hudson: Not bad.

The Rockpit: Getting ready to go to Europe with Annihilator!

Andrew Hudson: Yeah looking as ready as can ever be on our first European tour!

The Rockpit: I'm a huge fan of Annihilator as well so I'm quite envious of you guys touring and hanging out with Jeff Waters. I'm guessing you guys are fans of Annihilator as well?

Andrew Hudson: Yeah more or less [laughs].

The Rockpit: [laughs] So you aren't too familiar with them or you are?

Andrew Hudson: Yeah familiar with them but not a fanatic or anything like that, just aware of their influence on the scene and the genre. But I'm sure Ryan (Butler, guitar) loves them!

The Rockpit: [laughs] You are touring in support of your latest album "Proliferation" and I was just listening to it in the last couple of hours. I'm such a thrash fanatic anyway but I love this album, it's a great set of songs so you must be super happy with how it's turned out.

Andrew Hudson: Yeah pretty happy with how it came out, you never really know if it's going to get well received but you do your best, you write the music that you love and you do what you can to make sure it comes out the way you always picture it.

The Rockpit: Was there anything that you wanted to improve on from your first album?

Andrew Hudson: There was a couple of things. A lot of the stuff we kinda over did on the first album, we kinda overlayered some of the vocals and too many variations in certain sounds and styles. So with "Proliferation" we just tried to bring a little more anger, a little bit more aggression in the tone. We dialed in fucking dirtier guitar tones, we loosened everything up and made it a bit rawer if that makes sense. Just tried to increase on the aggression.

The Rockpit: Was there anything else as far as when you perform these songs live, did you think about how they would translate to the live setting.

Andrew Hudson: Yeah we didn't think enough about that because some of the riffs are a bit of a bastard to play! Definitely a little more musical prowess is required to pull off some of the songs but it's been good for us to step up to another level as a band and try to perform some of the tricky riffs and more interesting beats. We tried to keep the things that people loved on the first album, it's weird when you get reviews back on an album and every single review names a different song as their favorite track. Everyone has their own tastes so you don't really know which direction you're supposed to be on, pigeonholing yourself effectively. But we tried to do a couple of new things but also maintain the stuff that people seem to really enjoy and fist pumping choruses are always the way to do it. When we did "Civil Unrest", that was a very conscious decision to make an absolute grinder in the chorus for people to bang along to. But all the rest of it was trying to get as much speed and anger as we could into the music.

The Rockpit: Yeah absolutely, I guess you can't go wrong when you try to be honest with yourselves as far as writing music regardless of what other people say about it.

Andrew Hudson: They always ask questions like, where do you get inspiration for your music? What do you try and do when you write your songs? To be honest they just come out of you. You sit down and you either have a crap day and nothing will work or you will have a day where you sit down for the day and a song will write itself from start to finish. You don't think too much about what you're doing, it just kinda happens.

The Rockpit: So it comes out quite organic and natural for you guys?

Andrew Hudson: Yeah if that makes sense.




The Rockpit: Yeah absolutely. Do you have any personal favorites on the album or is it too early to say?

Andrew Hudson: Every single song has got something on it that I love which is important when you are writing the music because if you write a song from start to finish and you realize that it's really got no high point, then you kinda scrap it. So everything's got something I love about it so it depends what mood I'm into. I know the guys in the band love songs like "Civil Unrest" but I'm massively proud of "Proliferation", I think that was something that is going beyond what we've ever done before. I love "Denature" just for how tough it is but "Means To An End" I get the most joy out of live just because it's got that breakdown in the middle and you can really get the crowd into that. When you're in the band, you really want to play the live songs.

The Rockpit: It's funny you mention "Means To An End" as it's probably one of my favorite songs on the album.

Andrew Hudson: It does it alright doesn't it!

The Rockpit: Yes it does and I love the intro, I like the stop-start kind of thing in there as well. It's a great song.

Andrew Hudson: It's a great closer for the live set.

The Rockpit: And the title fits very well, "Means To An End" for the end of the album.

Andrew Hudson: [laughs] That was surprisingly deliberate!

The Rockpit: [laughs] When you put the tracklist together for an album, how do you go about putting them in a certain order?

Andrew Hudson: You've got to make sure that every song doesn't have too much similarity between each song, you can't have a song doing one thing and then the next song is pretty much doing the same thing. You got to make sure there's enough variation between each song. The general rule of thumb is you got to start strong, the opening track has to be awesome and then the second track has to be even more intense. You've got to build it up a bit and then you can pull it back down for track 3, 4 and 5. The pithole that you fall into is putting some fillers in towards the middle but you've got to make sure that track 8 is just a blinder out of nowhere and you got to make sure that the closing track is also one of the toughest things you've ever done. But basically it comes down to thinking about how the song finishes and how the next song will start and if you can excuse the gap between the songs...that's how I do it at least, I don't really know what I'm doing [laughs].

The Rockpit: [laughs] No you are right when you say that there needs to be some dynamics and some contrast between the songs otherwise it will sound generic and all the same. Andrew Hudson: I had one of those horrible moments when we released the first album where someone had put up a promo video of 5 minutes of snippets of all the songs and because they just cut verse sections and blended them altogether, it was just 5 minutes of thrash beats and it was at that moment that I realized that I definitely have a certain style and I play to my strength [laughs].

The Rockpit: [laughs] Well at the end of the day, you guys are a thrash metal band and that's all there is to it.

Andrew Hudson: Yeah as soon as we try anything different, we will get absolutely hazed by everybody!

The Rockpit: [laughs] Now just touching on the touring side of things, you guys had just done a recent tour with King Parrot right?

Andrew Hudson: Yeah we just did 4 Victorian shows with King Parrot.

The Rockpit: How did it go?

Andrew Hudson: That was fantastic! It was one of those things where it was so much more beneficial for us as a band than it could of possibly been for them to have a support band. We got to play to packed out shows every single night and to a whole new audience. The incredible thing about King Parrot is that people that were at the King Parrot shows were just like, 'Oh we just came here to see what the fuss was about'. King Parrot as a marketing device is so powerful that they just had random people that needed to come and see King Parrot. So we got exposed to a massively enormous, new audience and we also got the chance to road test our new drummer (Tom Joyce) to see if he was going to do back to back shows and keep up the intensity. It was just a good time, they are great blokes. We have a good scene in Victoria, the Melbourne metal crowd is off it's chops when it needs to be so yeah, it was a good weekend. It destroyed me, I was crook for the week after it because that tour life, you don't sleep much.

The Rockpit: No I wouldn't imagine so.

Andrew Hudson: Overnight drive home from Ballarat kills you.




The Rockpit: Well that is something that I do want to ask you, how is the thrash metal scene going in Melbourne? Because in Perth it's fairly dead as most are into death metal and core kind of stuff. Is the thrash scene in Melbourne quite healthy?

Andrew Hudson: Melbourne is the home of thrash, Melbourne is thrash capital. We got Desecrator, In Malices Wake, Blackened. Oh god I'm struggling to name them. You got us, Mason, Maniacs, there's stacks of them.

The Rockpit: So it's all happening there.

Andrew Hudson: Yeah and you can easily get a couple of hundred people down to a 5 band lineup at like the Bendigo Hotel and just pack the joint out with effectively fat, smelly, bearded men. But everyone has a good time so that's all that matters.

The Rockpit: Well that is what it's all about, for everyone to have a good time. And that's something that has come up quite a bit with a number of bands I have talked to as far as the whole resurgence of thrash metal in general worldwide. Have you noticed that there has been a resurgence in the thrash scene at the moment?

Andrew Hudson: I haven't particularly noticed it but I have been told about it by pretty much everyone who knows what's going on, so I'm going to have to take their word for it on a lot of things. We've been playing the same shitty music for a couple of years now and in the last year or 2, people have started to seem to give a shit. If that's because of the thrash resurgence, then I will make hay while the sun is shining and enjoy what little glory I can get out of playing heavy metal in 2015.

The Rockpit: Absolutely, good to hear. So who do you consider to be your biggest influence? How did you get into thrash in the first place?

Andrew Hudson: I can't remember the particular turning point, the reason I play guitar and sing at the same time is because of Dave Mustaine. You're embarrassed to admit that now because of the person that he is these days but "Rust In Peace" was a massive influence on me, singing along and playing "Holy Wars" is what will make you a guitarist, that's just a fact. And then of course I discovered Slayer, the first time I heard Slayer it would of been "Seasons In The Abyss". And at the time I was a "guitarist" guitarist, I wanted to be a lead guitarist. I don't have the patience to play my own instrument so I gave up on that a while ago but at the time, I wanted to be a shredder and so I heard a Slayer solo and thought they were the shittiest band I had ever heard in my life. But after a couple of months I think the anger just got through to me and I just went on a thrash binge for the next 7 years and now I exclusively listen to Slayer and Testament and Exodus and Overkill and Kreator and the like.

The Rockpit: All the classics

Andrew Hudson: All the classics. I don't know if you have heard Guillotine's "Blood Money" but it's one of the best albums that's ever been written in the history of the world and if you're into thrash, you need to get Guillotine's "Blood Money".

The Rockpit: Where are they from?

Andrew Hudson: Sweden I think.

The Rockpit: Oh OK so a European thrash band.

Andrew Hudson: Yeah and they had a bit of a thing in the 90's and then they broke up and then they just went, 'Let's reform and release the best thing that's ever happened', and then they did that, they released it in 2008. I bought it in a bargain bin at JB-Hi-Fi because the logo looked like a thrash metal band, I just grabbed it on a whim and it was incredible.

The Rockpit: Yeah that's a good way to discover bands, just by the album cover and artwork.

Andrew Hudson: If there's some poxy looking cartoon and really blocky logo, it's probably a thrash band. I'll get that.

The Rockpit: [laughs] Now as mentioned before, the tour in Europe with Annihilator, obviously you guys are pretty excited about doing it. This is your biggest trek outside of Australia I'm guessing?

Andrew Hudson: This is our only trek outside of Australia! This is the first time we've ever left the country with our music.

The Rockpit: So what are your expectations and what do you know about the European crowds and metal scene over there?

Andrew Hudson: My good friend in Damnations Day tells me that it's the best time of your life and you'll get home and you'll be the most depressed you've ever been because you just want to get back on the road and play in Europe again. He says the crowds are really warm and welcoming and everyone is really enthusiastic and just the sheer numbers of people that can get to shows there is incredible.

The Rockpit: It should be a very good experience for you guys as they are into a lot of the underground stuff so you guys may get picked up from them over there maybe.

Andrew Hudson: Picked up by who?

The Rockpit: Picked up by the fans and all that kind of stuff, just more exposure for you.

Andrew Hudson: Well we figure Annihilator is the perfect band to do it with. Some of the bigger bands you get diehard fanatic fans who just won't give a shit about the support but with a band like Annihilator, you're just going to have 80's thrash junkies. You're going to have a crowd every night of people who are obsessed with the denim and the leather and just the entire 80's scene. So I'm hoping that we can go and show them that it's not quite dead yet and young kids can do things.

The Rockpit: Yeah absolutely and good luck on the tour, it should be a fantastic time.

Andrew Hudson: I just hope we don't suck really!

The Rockpit: I'm sure you'll be fine! "Proliferation" sounds fantastic and I'm sure those new songs will go over really well so thanks for your time today and good luck on the tour!

Andrew Hudson: No problem man, thank you very much.


Catch Harlott with Annihilator in Europe from September 30th - November 14th 2015. Tour info and tickets HERE
Get the new album "Proliferation" at Nergas.com.au.


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on September 25th 2015